Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Randall Smith

April 20, 2023 00:21:58
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Randall Smith
All Things Considered Franchising Podcast
Scotty Milas' All Things Considered Franchising Podcast with Randall Smith

Apr 20 2023 | 00:21:58

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Show Notes

Today’s guest is Randall Smith… entrepreneur and franchisee!

Scotty asks Randall about working with a consultant vs. the “do it yourself” approach. Randall
says, “I thought I knew it all. I knew the direction I was going in and we kind of marched in that
direction. But then I met you (Scotty.) You interviewed us and swung the compass. We looked
in all different directions and settled on this real estate business.”

Scotty then asks Randall what guidance he would give someone when they think they are ready
to make a decision on a franchise. Randall says, “Franchisors will interview you harder than you
interview them. They are looking for the right people to bring in to make their brand more
successful. So, as a potential franchisee, the best you can do is to get a really good
understanding of the end result is going to be through the discovery process. So, end the end,
they are not trying to just sell you, they are trying to educate you.”

Finally, Scotty asks Randall for encouraging words for those who are still on the fence about
franchising. Randall says, “It’s never to late to back out until you sign, and the investigation
process is free…and fun. Start the research and educate yourself. It’s never too early to start
this process.”

Scotty Milas can be reached at Scott@[email protected] and at (860)751-
9126.
Randall Smith can be reached at [email protected].

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:05 Hello, everybody. Scotty, my here All Things Considered Franchising, powered by Scott, my franchise coach.com. All Things Considered franchising is a podcast dedicated to the franchising industry, young and experienced entrepreneurs looking to, uh, venture into the franchising space to get educated, learn to, uh, understand what franchising is all about. Scott Mylo franchise coach.com is a consulting company where we offer education and guidance, introducing brands that fit, helping you build that, uh, roadmap, uh, to explore franchising. Uh, the services and the guidance and education that we provide are absolutely no cost to you. Um, I have a very, a very, very interesting guest with us today and somebody over the last 18 months, it's almost two years, believe it or not, that I've gotten to know and I've actually gotten to know his family. Um, and, and, and Randy Smith is our guest today. And, uh, he is just an entrepreneur at heart. Uh, the corporate world now en franchising, uh, has been, uh, knee-deep in helping his family get involved in business and start visiting b living their legacy. Um, Randy, welcome to the show. Speaker 2 00:01:23 How you doing Scott, by the way? What an introduction. <laugh>, what a professional outfit. Speaker 1 00:01:28 Thank you. Thank you, thank you. It took me several months to perfect it, but I appreciate that <laugh>. It's, uh, Hey, listen, I really appreciated you taking some time, these 10, 15 minutes to speak with us, cuz I know you're a busy guy, um, but you are a, what I ca classify as a very successful, independent corporate, uh, individual that started a company from the ground up. Uh, and from what the story I have learned over the last couple of years, there are a lot of bumpy roads, uh, ended up building it. Uh, and you know, somebody walked in private equity, walked in, and, you know, kind of knocked on your door in conversations and you're still involved in the business. You're still playing a, an integral part, uh, on the leadership of the business. Um, your journey and, and story and now, and now helping your family, uh, that getting into another, uh, business, especially in the, and looking at franchising is, is, is an interesting story. So maybe walk us, take 30, 45 a minute here and, and tell us about this journey because I think it's, it's gonna be intriguing to our listeners. Speaker 2 00:02:40 Got it. Uh, well, Scott, I'm on the disc profile. I'm an, I'm what they call a high eye, uh, which is an, like an influencer, and I use about 90,000 words a day, sometimes gusting to one 20. So I'll try to keep this in 45 seconds. Speaker 1 00:02:56 <laugh>, take your time, Randy. Take your Speaker 2 00:02:58 Time. So, and so, my, my dad was an entrepreneur. He never had a real job. He became a home builder, you know, uh, started working as a carpenter, became a home builder, built a home for himself, sold it before it was done. And then 20 years later, he was one of the largest home builders in California. He retired and moved to Florida. When I got outta high school, he said, don't bother with college. Come down here and I'll lend you some money and we're gonna start a business, or you're gonna start a business. Ended up being a family business. So I moved to Florida in 1983 and, uh, he lent me the money and I started the business and I lost all the money promptly. And then he came in and worked with me in the business, and we worked together for 35 years and then, uh, sold one of the largest flooring companies in the country, uh, and, uh, and had our exit to private equity in 2019. Speaker 2 00:03:51 And during that 35 year career, uh, I had to learn everything, build everything from the ground up. When we did our first carpet job back in 1983, I had to invoice the customer. So I'm like, well, what's an invoice? What do we want it to look like? <laugh>? I mean, it, it, it, it absolutely, the great thing about, uh, forming a business is it's like your own country and you get to make all the rules. Uh, the hard thing is you have to do everything yourself from the beginning. And I had no experience in it. Um, we, we had a lot of times that, uh, you know, we were near bankruptcy or an insolvent, and somehow we, you know, we just lived a fight another day and it ended up being a great family success story, including my brother, my father, uh, my stepmother. My kids are all involved now and, and have been for years. So it's just been a, it, it's just been a good, uh, a good entrepreneurial, uh, journey for a guy like me who wakes up every morning, uh, ready to take on, you know, whatever the task is at hand. Speaker 1 00:04:49 That's interesting. And, you know, the calling to continue, uh, or at least help your family get involved in a business now that the business wasn't quote yours on paper. I mean, you're still the business, I mean, you're still part of it, but I guess it would've been you, did you ever contemplate going out and being that visionary entrepreneur again and starting a business for your family that wasn't a franchise? Speaker 2 00:05:21 Uh, yeah. So what happened as, as is the nature of things, right? Once the dust settled and we'd li liquified the business, now it was, okay, so what's the next thing? Yes, I'm still the president of this company. I've been here for four years. You know, they, they, it's hard for them to get rid of me, I guess <laugh>, um, I still, uh, add some value here, but, um, I wanted, uh, to, to help my kids create that kind of opportunity where they could build a business for their legacy. And, um, but what I realized is the industry we were in is a tough one, right? It's construction, really tough industry. And, um, and we had a lot, lot of hard knocks through it. So the idea of going and starting another business from scratch and designing the how, what the invoice is gonna look like, and, you know, all that stuff, right? Speaker 2 00:06:06 Um, it didn't really appeal to me. And, uh, and so just for fun, one day I started poking around looking at franchising. And, um, as a guy who built a business from scratch for 35 years, um, I would've been able to do, accomplish what I accomplished in probably 15 if I had had all the right tools and interesting. And because I had to build 'em along the way. So I, I started, uh, googling franchise opportunities and I started researching them. And, and this is before I even talked to my kids about it, I just thought this would be a good way for them to build a legacy, right? And so we went down the road with, you know, pizza joint and, uh, several other different, uh, avenues. And what I quickly learned, and this sounds like a commercial for Scotty, my <laugh>, but what I quickly learned is I didn't know the first thing about franchising. Speaker 2 00:07:00 So yes, I knew that the franchise was gonna teach me the next business and give me all the tools to be successful <laugh>, but I didn't know how to evaluate them, right? So I googled franchise coach or whatever, and I found you online, and I, and I emailed you, and the rest is history. Yeah. And, and, and I have to tell you the way you interviewed my kids and mentored them along the way and presented all these different deals, I, I don't know if you know Scotty, but originally my wife, uh, who was, she's a general contractor and a real estate broker, and she was building custom houses, and she's just getting to the point where she doesn't wanna do that anymore. And we travel a lot. And when she saw what I was doing with this franchise thing and talking with you and getting the kids involved, um, she said, Hey, let me look into that. Speaker 2 00:07:46 And then, as you know, the rest is history. Now my wife is in the franchise, goes <laugh>, and, and has bought several licenses, is working on developing 'em along with my kids and their spouses. So I feel good that what my dad did for me, I'm kind of helping my, my kids and my wife do, you know, a a as like a, a family, but we're not going to the school of hard knocks and starting from ground zero. And, and you helped us along that journey to find what suited us and of course, what suited us, something that has to do with real estate and construction, which is my family's wheelhouse, right? Right. So, so we're not doing food, you know, or recycling or solar. We're, we're in the, the field that we're comfortable with. And I know that there's hundreds if not thousands of different franchise opportunities, and there's the right one for everyone, right? And, and you need a coach like you because you showed us all these opportunities. And when you, I, I almost feel like you teased us and you gave us all these things you knew wouldn't fit. And then when you showed us this one, we said, oh yeah, we're sold. Well, Speaker 1 00:08:50 Yes, not really, but you know what's really interesting, and I i I, and I'm gonna put you on, on the spot for a second, and then I don't mean it in a, in a negative sense, but is it safe to say in working with a consultant, um, and doing it yourself that the direction you initially thought you were gonna go in and where you ended up, when you started to put yourself in the position to, to learn and educate and probably looking at things that you never knew existed in the what, where you ended up was totally different than where you were going Speaker 2 00:09:29 Completely. I had, uh, like a lot of people, you know, I, i, not that I thought I knew it all, but I just figured this is the direction we're going, this is what I want to do. And we kind of marched that direction. And then when you got a hold of us and interviewed us, I mean, look, there's people for every industry, right? Like, like, like I have a friend who owns a restaurant and he wouldn't do anything but owning a restaurant, right? Running a restaurant in his dna, n a, he's made for it. Whereas for me, I figured out that that's not me at all, right? I don't wanna be responsible for a business Saturday and Sunday until two in the morning with a liquor license. Like, like, that wasn't like, that wasn't me <laugh>, but, but it was for him. But, but really when you, you know, you kind of swung the compass and we looked in all different directions and we settled in on this real estate based, um, uh, business. Speaker 2 00:10:22 And, uh, and it just was a, it was a slam dunk. And I don't know that we would've found it without you. In fact, I was quite sure we wouldn't have. Um, and, uh, and you were, you, you were instrumental in that. The other thing I would say, uh, Scotty, is that, uh, you are also, uh, like no pressure. I view you more as, you know, you say coach, and I think that's a good, a good example cuz you're not in there doing it for us. You're just coaching us and giving us advice and a little guidance. And it, and it worked really well. And, uh, and, and the other thing is you stay in touch with us, you know? And, uh, when, when something good happens, you know, you're like on the, you're, you're like our best, uh, our best fan Speaker 1 00:11:04 <laugh>. That's interesting. You know, when you start, when when we, when we finally found kind of that category for you and you started to go through the investigative process with your family, um, you know, the phone calls, what did you learn or what guidance could you give some of our listeners on the things that somebody should be looking out for? The questions you're gonna asking? I mean, I know that you and I talked a lot and your kids and I talked a lot, Lenny and I talked a lot, um, about what the things you should be asking, but what's your best guidance for someone that really maybe has found something that they're interested in to kind of get to that point where you're making that validated decision and not that emotional decision? I mean, the relationship with the brand, obviously the numbers have to make, make sense, but is there any guidance you can share? I mean, you know, to get to that point. Speaker 2 00:11:57 Uh, so I will tell you that what I found interesting is whenever you're being pitched anything in the world, right? I mean, I ran a big business with 1200 employees for a long time and I was always pitched something, right? And whether it was banking services or I mean just whatever, right? And, and what I found interesting is when I started to get quote pitched these different franchises, um, I I I kept trying to figure out what are they hiding? What's, what's behind the curtain? What am I not knowing now that I'm gonna find out later down the road what, you know, and, and, and I was, I was leery. What I've come to realize is franchisors, uh, yes, you're purchasing a license from them, but they are interviewing you much harder than you are interviewing them. They wanna bring the right people into the brand that they believe are gonna be successful and that aren't gonna rock the boat or muddy the water, so to speak. And then when it comes to the, the pitch, it's really not a pitch. In fact, they give you a document of every franchisee in the system with their cell phone number. You can call anybody and talk to franchisees directly and say, would you do this again? What did they not dis explain to you? What did they not disclose to you? And you know, once you call five or 10 people, you start to realize Speaker 1 00:13:25 Yet that picture gets painted. Speaker 2 00:13:27 Yeah. The picture gets painted <laugh>, and they're not trying to pull anything over on you, right? They're not just in it to sell you a license for 12,000 or a hundred thousand or whatever the license is. They're in it for the long term. And, and I found that they were giving way more information than I would've ever known what to request, uh, when they did their disclosures. And the fact that, that you can call every owner and everybody's happy to talk. And by the way, it's not all positive. You do hear, right? I didn't know this was gonna be so much work. I didn't know accounting was so hard. I didn't know, you know, I had to be there every day or I, or I was never there and I should have been there. I mean, you hear it all. So I think that almost out of anything that you can do, um, you, you, you get a really good understanding of what the end result's gonna be through the discovery process. And I think the franchisors, I know there's a lot of legal requirements of disclosure, right? But I think they do a really good job not trying to sell you, but trying to educate you. Speaker 1 00:14:25 Well, I think that's important. And I think in, in, in all fairness to the process, you, to the process and due diligence that you and your family went through to make your decision, you also connected with the ownership group. You, you kind of connected with Jason and Brandon and really started to really kind of make sure that there was that compatibilities that yeah, you know, we, we may not agree all the time, but you know what, we gotta be able to have that discussion. So you, I I I, I think you developed or, or at least learned that the relationship part with the franchise war is very important. I know we talked about that early in our process, that we talked that, hey, look, I, you know, I would say get to know them. I mean the, these are people that you're gonna be connected with for, you know, whether it's 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, or whenever you decide to exit. I mean, is that a crucial, when you're looking at a franchise, get comfortable with the group and the systems? Speaker 2 00:15:25 Yeah. So, so you teed that up nicely. Um, you know, I I, I do some other, uh, seminars on fi finance and things like that for different groups. And, uh, I I have this simple stupid line that says relationships matter, and it's not the relationship with your customer, those matter. It's the relationship with your employee. It's the relationship with your bank. It's the relationship with your account. It's the relationship with your franchisor. It's, it's, uh, you know, entrepreneurs, uh, if you've been an employee your whole life, W2 employee, a lot of people when they start their own business, can't wait to be the boss. When you become the boss, you realize you're the boss of nobody. You are spinning all the plates and, and trying to make everybody happy and working together. And you find that you're really working for everybody. And the only way that works is if you build a great relationship and connection with each of them. Speaker 2 00:16:18 I will tell you that because I knew that about business, I went above and beyond reaching out to, um, uh, the, the franchise, uh, the franchisors and the management team. Uh, my wife and I flew to Salt Lake where their headquarters in, we went to their office. This is back during Covid when nobody was traveling. I wasn't gonna buy a franchise without meeting them. Exactly. And so, so my wife and I have a home, uh, in Park City. So every time we go to Salt Lake, we go visit them. And guess what happens? Not only do you get to know 'em, but you actually build a friendship. And, um, and we built a really nice relationship, uh, with them. We care about their success of their brand. Their success is our success, and vice versa. They care deeply about helping us be successful. And if you can, uh, have fun and enjoy working with those people that you're, that you're committed to working with for 10, 20 years, like you said, it just makes it that much more enjoyable, right? Smooths out any bumps in the road. And, uh, we haven't really had any bumps in the process, but I will tell you that, um, when there's been a question mark, they go out of their way to try to make sure that we are, are well served and taken care of. Speaker 1 00:17:25 That is great. Um, one last subject. Uh, I I promise you we keep this short, sweet, and simple. So one last sub subject. Uh, you know, there are people out there that are gonna be, uh, that are listening to us and, and, and contemplating whether they should pick up the phone and investigate and research business ownership, uh, and then business ownership, starting their own business as an, an independent and possibly looking at, um, uh, a franchise. I, is it safe, Randy, are there any encouraging words that you can tell people being a successful entrepreneur yourself, that it's okay to pick up the phone and start learning and put yourself in that position, but it's okay to say no, it's not the right time. I mean, what kind of guidance can you give someone that's really just kind of thinking about it right now, but really just hasn't put that right or left foot forward? Speaker 2 00:18:21 Well, I will tell you that, uh, it's never too late to back out until you sign on the dotted line and wire the money <laugh>. Okay? Right. So, uh, and the other thing is the investigation process is free. It's a lot of fun. Um, and, and the other thing is, especially for people now, I've met a lot of franchisees that are coming out of the corporate world and, and they wanna enhance their retirement. So they actually start their own business again into franchising when they're in their fifties or early sixties, which I think is awesome, especially if it's like an absentee owner model and not Yeah. You know, too time consuming. Um, I think that's, I think that's great. Um, but, but one thing I can tell you is it is, uh, it's a bit of an adventure. It's fun, it's fun to learn new stuff. Speaker 2 00:19:11 Um, and it all starts by, by, uh, you know, doing, starting your research. And, and the other thing is, it's never too early to start. Um, you know, a lot of people ask me, how do I transition from W two employee to self-employed? And I say, side hustle, right? Right. Educate yourself, start to learn something. Start to get it going. You can keep your job. I mean, uh, you know, my wife is starting these businesses and, uh, you know, my son, you know, uh, bought a franchise through you in property management. He's got his business going, but, but everybody was doing something else when we started that process, right? So don't wait until you retire or until the time is right. That's like, don't wait to have a baby till the time is right. <laugh>, just have a, you'll, you'll, you'll you'll work it out. That's great. That's great. Yeah. I would say sooner rather than later, because I never met anybody who says I should have waited. I always met people who said I should have started sooner. Speaker 1 00:20:04 Right, right. And, and I'm a believer that, you know, put yourself in a position where you're gonna feel a little uncomfortable, that's okay, because that's how you learn more. Uh, you know, when, when, when you wanna know, you ask more questions, and questions are great, especially when you're investing in yourself and you're in, you know, and, and, and putting money on the table. I mean, it's, it's no different, Randy, this is, you know, you, you and your family have become good friends of ours. Uh, you know, uh, I hope when we get down there again in Florida, we're gonna, I'll be able to bring my wife with us and, and Sharon a dinner. Cuz that dinner we had a couple of months ago was just out outstanding. It was just, uh, a lot of fun with you and the kids and, uh, so, uh, so I appreciate your time, Speaker 2 00:20:43 Scott. Scott, what you forgot to say was there was a sneaky popup bar behind the wall. <laugh> and Scotty Milas went in there and showed us his dance moves for another couple week. Great, great time. Speaker 1 00:20:55 Well, I appreciate your time, Randy. It's, uh, uh, you offer a lot of wisdom, uh, and guidance. Uh, and, uh, you know, uh, I, I, I, I, I told somebody the other day, if you follow, if you follow the book of Randy, uh, without giving into details, I said, you know, the, the chances are you're gonna be very, very successful. So I appreciate your time. Any closing thoughts, anything you want to add before we go? Speaker 2 00:21:20 Uh, you know, Scott, if anybody wants to reach out to me, uh, you know, share my information and if I can help anybody in a journey, I'd be happy to. Speaker 1 00:21:29 All right. Thanks Randy. Uh, this is Scotty, my All Things Considered Franchising, powered by Scott, my franchise coach.com. I can be reached at Scott at Scott, my franchise coach.com as my e m email address, or 8 6 0 7 5 1 9 1 2 6 direct office line. Or visit my website scott, my franchise coach.com. Until next time, this is Scotty my, have a great day.

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